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E-Mail Trouble

June 7, 2001 

Things were going well for Peter Chung. So he decided to brag a little. Chung, a freshly minted associate at private investment firm the Carlyle Group, sent an e-mail to his friends boasting about the "harem of chickies" he hoped to create in his "spanking brand new 2,000 sq. foot 3 bedroom apt.," and how he had bankers calling him to "cater to my every whim." His e-mail was forwarded around Wall Street, ultimately reaching his bosses at the white-shoe firm. Chung, 24, was forced to resign; the story even made the New York Times.

Chung seems to have gone to ground — neither he nor his ex-bosses returned calls for comment — so we at eCompany Now decided to seek some advice on what he should do next. We called Howard Rubenstein, the New York public relations maven who has helped polish the images of Sarah Ferguson, Leona Helmsley, and Rupert Murdoch. Rubenstein says there's hope for Chung -- but first, he should say he's sorry. "I wouldn't take him on as a client unless he was willing to make a real public apology," Rubenstein says. Next, according to Rubenstein, Chung needs to indicate that he will never do this type of thing again. "America quickly forgets indiscretions of all kinds," Rubenstein says, "but people will be super-cautious about hiring him." On a scale of 1 to 10, Rubenstein ranks Chung's faux pas as an 8. "There are worse things, like doing something crooked or having an affair with your boss's wife," he says. "But this is high up there."

By Stacy Perman, Copyright © 2001 eCompany Now Inc.

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